Blog The much-anticipated I-5 non event
Did anyone miss the headlines? The much anticipated I-5 closures produced no traffic catastrophe. Instead, usage dropped 50% during the 2 week period. And apparently no one knows why. Was it the bikes? The transit? Flexible work hours? Signals? Here’s another theory: it was also a coordinated effort by all levels of government in Puget Sound. It proved that when a major project is orchestrated at a regional level, the payoffs are substantial.
Some of the planning I read or heard about: an additional Sounder Commuter Rail train, additional Water Taxis, extra parking at Park and Ride stations all the way to Tacoma and Kent. Extra shuttle services between communities and drop-off points for transit. Increased vanpools and more bike transit options in all parts of the county.
The drop in traffic wasn’t about Seattle telling Seattleites to find alternatives; it was about mobilizing the resources in the region to coordinate with each other and find alternatives. It wasn’t just about relieving pressure on Seattle’s surface streets, but relied on roadways from Bremerton to Carnation.
If there is one thing that we have learned from this experience, it should be that we are a regional metropolis and planning should be viewed through that lens. More importantly, that if reasonable, cross-county, user-friendly alternatives are provided, people will gladly use them.
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